Interview: Women of BOOM! – Haiwei Hou
It’s Thursday which brings us a new interview and our 29th “Women of BOOM!” feature, spotlighting the many kick-ass women that work at BOOM!, Archaia and KaBOOM! We’re focusing on everyone, editors, designers, writers, artists, you name it! We’re making sure to include the hard-working folks whose contributions are often overlooked in the process.
BOOM! (and KaBOOM! and Archaia) has given us unprecedented access and the chance to ask questions to their staff, and creative teams, to find out why the publisher is so successful in hiring women and their experiences in the comic industry as women.
Haiwei Hou is an artist focused on visual development, character design, illustration, animation, and storyboarding.
Graphic Policy: How did you get involved in the comic book industry?
Haiwei Hou: I love visual storytelling. If I have a great story in mind, I’m desperate to draw it out neglecting the fact of getting paid or not.
GP: Did you read comics growing up? Do you read them now?
HH: Yes, I grew up reading, so have a huge influence from Manga and Anime. I still read them when I need some inspiration.
GP: How did you come to work with BOOM!/Archaia?
HH: One day, there’s an email from Jasmine. She asked me if I’m interested and I said yes.
GP: How would you describe your job for people?
HH: I deliver the project on time and they love my work.
GP: For people who want to pursue a career in what you do, what advice would you give them?
HH: Never stop trying, even when professionals tell you that you are hopeless. Everyone can get to the level they want in time, but passion is what keeps you moving forward. When your artwork is strong enough, jobs will come to you.
GP: Did you have a mentor to help you break into the industry? Do you mentor anyone yourself?
HH: I didn’t have a specific mentor that helped me break into the industry. I met up with new artists and learned from their experiences.
GP: Do you think women have a more difficult time breaking in and making it in the comic industry, if so why? And if yes, how do you think that can be overcome?
HH: Personally, I don’t see that there’s a problem for woman to break into the comic industry. Lots of my co-workers at BOOM! are female. It is just a mindset. Women have to stop destructing themselves and just pursue what they really want in life.
GP: We notice that when it comes to women in the comic industry, BOOM!/Archaia has a lot of diversity present. Why do you think have they succeeded when so many other publishers struggle with this?
HH: BOOM! is an uprising studio. It is not huge, so there are more opportunities opened to new artists. It is a fact that women play an important role in our industry. More than half of my schoolmates are female. They just need an employer with an open mind to hire them.
GP: We’ve heard horror stories concerning women in the industry, have you ever seen or been discriminated/harassed and if so, how did you handle it?
HH: If someone harasses me or my friends in person, I will crack a joke and offer him a beer. If someone harasses me on the internet, I will reply with a laugh. I never take them seriously because most of them do so because they are drunk.
GP: What advice do you have for women looking to break into the comic book industry?
HH: Gender is not an excuse to stop you pursuing your dream. Just go and do what you really want.